Regenerative Medicine

Disease modeling

The main goal of the Disease Modeling subtheme is understanding the molecular and cellular origin of disease through studies on advanced human cell, tissue, and organ models or clinically relevant animal models. Clinical and basic researchers collaborate with overarching technologies to advance knowledge on mechanisms that underlie disease, why diseases affect some individuals more than others and develop new therapies to treat these diseases.


In vitro models allow us to answer outstanding questions on patient-specific drug effects and whether new disease targets can be identified that would lead to new therapeutic strategies. To do so it is necessary to generate better, and when necessary, more complex, models not only containing cells of the tissue of interest but also surrounding cells.

The validation of these human disease models and comparison with manifestations of the disease in animal models and patients are a key objective of this subtheme. The 3Rs (reduction, replacement, refinement) of animal experiments is among LUMC’s objectives. However, implementation and acceptance are only realistic if the human models provide at least equivalent or preferably better information on disease mechanisms and targets and are at the same time amenable for screening new therapies.

Our researchers mainly work with two types of complex and innovative human in vitro models: organoids (lab grown 3D mini-organs) and Organs-on-Chip (OoC). These models are both usually based on iPSCs. Doing so, RegMedTO researchers have successfully generated models for diseases that affect a variety of organs including vascularized 3D cardiac microtissue on chip, vascularized kidney organoids and lung-on-chip models through which air can flow.

A full list of projects can be seen here:



Sub theme lead: Christine Mummery (